Food Rules

1 Jul

Good morning blog friends! It’s almost the weekend! Yipppeee! So last time we talked I promised you a series of posts about what I eat. I have been a faithful food paparazzo for all most of my meals. Before I dive in to my daily feasts, I wanted to give you some basic eating guidelines that I follow….

1. 5-6 Meals A Day

No 3-squares for me. I eat 5 or 6 meals everyday. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and sometimes a bedtime snack if I’m still hungry. I space my meals about 2.5-3 hours apart. Eating more frequently doesn’t necessarily mean eating more. I never stuff myself at a meal, instead I spread my daily intake evenly throughout my day. This constant intake of calories keeps my blood sugar steady which means I feel energized and my metabolism is burnin’ all day long. 

2. It’s All About Balance

Each meal includes complex carbs, protein, and some healthy fat. 

3. “Sometimes” Foods

I rarely exile foods from my diet- I’ve tried this in the past and my body felt kinda funky. Instead, I have “sometimes” foods. These include high-sugar desserts, potato chips, cheese, meat, and alcohol. The only foods that are exiled from my diet aren’t really foods at all- any processed chemical-filled garbage that makes my body feel all gross and gunky inside. 

4. Fuel Your Workouts

Planning my meals around my workouts really helps me stay on track. When I eat a healthy, balanced meal before/after a workout I feel great! I feel powerful during my workouts and my body recovers better. Nutrition has a profound impact on physical performance. When I eat too much sugar, I feel AWEFUL on my runs. That terrible sluggish feeling is usually enough to deter me from unhealthy food choices on a typical day.

5. The Nut Butter Rule

I have a rule about nut butter: only 1 serving (2 tbsp) a day. Don’t get me wrong, i looooove nut butter and it’s full of filling, healthy fats. It is my deep, passionate love for nut butter that drove me to make this rule because even healthy foods should be portion controlled. Sometimes when caloric foods are labelled “healthy” we think that gives us permission to eat them with reckless abandon. I found myself dipping into the jar every time the mood struck me, every time I opened the cupboard and heard the creamy (or crunchy) goodness calling my name, every time I walked by the kitchen! This bad habit left me with several empty nut butter jars and a few extra pounds. Maybe you have a food that makes you lose all control. Soft, squishy bread? Creamy guacamole? Crispy pita chips and humus? Setting a daily maximum for these foods will keep you from overindulging AND encourage you to enjoy and savor the portion you allow yourself. And I am ALL FOR enjoying and savoring every bite 🙂

6. Intuitive Eating

Although I usually eat my planned 5-6 meals each day, sometimes plans change, opportunities arise, or my body takes a detour. If mealtime rolls around and I don’t feel hungry, then I never force-feed myself. On the other hand, if it’s only been an hour since my last meal and my stomach is gurgling, then I definitely eat! This is very applicable to my sixth meal. I’m not always hungry again after dinner, so I skip this last meal quite often (or have something small or a cup of tea). It is SO important to learn to check in with your body and listen to the signs it gives you. For instance, yesterday I ate a meal out at a restaurant. Restaurant meals usually contain a lot of sodium and this one left me feeling dehydrated and bloated. I had no appetite when it was time for my afternoon snack, so I opted for lots and lots of water and by dinnertime I felt back to normal. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you what you need!

7. A Smoothie A Day…

I try to have a smoothie every day. Whether it stands in as breakfast, post-workout fuel, or an after dinner milkshake-like treat, I try to fit it in somewhere. It provides me with a healthy dose of protein (protein powder), vitamins and antioxidants (fruit), calcium (yogurt), and greens (loads of spinach!). Smoothies make me feel healthy, vibrant, and clean. There are endless combinations, so I never get sick of ’em.

8. Eat Close to the Ground, The Less Legs, The Better!

Michael Pollan gets credit for this one. By “close to the ground” I mean natural, real, whole foods. Things that grow from the Earth. Ever heard of a Twinkie tree? I didn’t think so. The less legs, the better: one leg~ plants, two legs~ fowl, four legs~ pigs and cows. In #3 I mentioned that meat is a sometimes food for me. Americans eat waaaaaaay too much meat. WAAAAY too much. Your diet should be mostly plant-based, some lean meat, and red meat on rare occasions (no pun intended).

9. Water, Water Everywhere

Drinking plenty of water will do wonders for you, I promise. Our bodies are about 60% water! Lots of water makes your skin glow, it flushes out toxins, keeps you full, and de-bloats your belly. You should try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day, more if you’re active. I drink about 15 cups a day. When you first start out on your water regimen, you may be tempted to drive to the Walgreens in the neighboring town to discretely buy a pack of Depends, but your bladder will eventually adjust and you’ll stop peeing every 5 minutes. Sometimes I jazz up my water with citrus or cucumbers. 

10. Treat Treats Like Treats!

As I’ve said many times on this blog, I am all about savoring and enjoying every bite of food that meets your lips. Eating is supposed to be a fun, pleasurable experience, so by all means enjoy it! This is especially important for “special” foods. My special foods are desserts, special occasion foods, and indulgent restaurant meals. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, ice cream cake at birthday parties, or deep-dish pizza at Pi. I plan for and look forward to “special” foods. I view them as a special treat and I relish in every bite. If I ate these foods everyday, they would lose their luster. But since I only enjoy them on rare occasions, I give them proper attention 🙂

Well, there ya have it. Ten nutrition guidelines that I live by. For more fun nutrition rules, I highly suggest Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It’s an easy, fun read full of cute little sayings to guide you through your meals.

 See you tomorrow morning for breakfast 🙂


5 Responses to “Food Rules”

  1. Emily July 1, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    I admire your nut butter rule! I try not to eat more than 2 servings a day..but it’s also one of my only sources of dietary fat, so I don’t feel too badly. 🙂 I also try to steer away from simple sugars and make most of my meals veggie-centered. Of course, I am also a strong believer in moderation, so I will definitely eat ice cream once in a while!

    • kayli (Running On Sunshine) July 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

      Moderation is definitely key! And I’ve been known to break the nut butter rule from time to time… 🙂


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